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The Kaka’i of Iran and Iraq

Pray for the Kaka’i Kurdish people of Iran and Iraq

The Kaka’i call themselves ahl al haqq which means, “people of truth.” They are a Kurdish people group, living mainly in Iraq and Iran with over 5 million members who speak Kurdish, Arabic and Farsi. Kaka’i men are identified by their large mustaches, which they wear proudly as a symbol of their religion.

Officially they are registered as Muslims and Islamic Sharia law is forced on them. However, they prefer to follow their own secret religion, known as Yarsanism, a syncretistic (mixed) belief system which is similar to Sufism, but not well understood as it is forbidden to talk about.

Day16 Alt Photobyparaw Tombdawud Wikimedia
The holy tomb of David, located in Northwest Iran, is one of the most sacred shrines of the Yarsanism (Ahl-i Haq) religion. Photo by Paraw via Wikimedia CC

Yarsanism was founded in the late 14th century and was heavily influenced by Islamic mysticism. Like Sufis, the Kaka’i desire to have a personal relationship with God. Kaka’i men and women are enthusiastic musicians and love to sing their songs together in weekly meetings.

As a despised minority, they feel very connected with Christians in their countries, and many have pictures representing Jesus in their homes. However, it is difficult for the Kaka’i to follow Jesus as this is seen as rejection of their faith and family and community.

Oriental-style hospitality is practiced extensively among the Kaka’i. Eceb if they are poor and don’t have many possessions, their honor compels them to give. A guest cannot pass a Kaka`i house without drinking refreshments and coffee and something to eat.

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Prayer Ideas:

  • Officially unrecognized by their governments, the Kaka’i are vulnerable to discrimination and harassment and need support to live peacefully and successfully.
  • Mystics long for intimate connection with God and a revelation of the spiritual world. Pray for them using 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 as inspiration.
  • A few Kaka’i are already followers of Christ. Pray for them to bring light and truth to this people of truth. (John 8:12).
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